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Title: The Arts of Persia - & Other Countries of Islam
Author: Kevorkian, Hagop K.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's Note: The main text in this book is interspersed with
numerous illustrations and accompanying text. In this e-book, the
illustrations and accompanying text are set off from the main text by
lines of asterisks. For the reader's convenience, where the original
indicates that the main text is continued on another page (e.g.,
[CONTINUED ON PAGE THREE]), the page on which it is continued is marked
with a page number, e.g., [PAGE 3].]



SPECIAL EXHIBITION


THE ARTS OF PERSIA

& OTHER COUNTRIES OF ISLAM


H. KEVORKIAN COLLECTION

[Illustration]

FROM THURSDAY, APRIL TWENTY-SECOND
TO SATURDAY, MAY FIFTEENTH, INCLUSIVE
ON THE ENTIRE THIRD FLOOR


THE ANDERSON GALLERIES
489 PARK AVENUE AT FIFTY-NINTH STREET, NEW YORK
1926


THE ENTIRE THIRD FLOOR GALLERIES
FROM THURSDAY, APRIL TWENTY-SECOND
TO SATURDAY, MAY FIFTEENTH, INCLUSIVE
[OPEN WEEK-DAYS, 9-6; SUNDAYS, 2-5 P.M.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: STUCCO BAS-RELIEF, PAINTED IN POLYCHROME. EXCAVATED AT
RAY (RHAGES) ANTERIOR TO THE XIITH CENTURY]

This exhibition has been arranged with a desire to meet the
convenience of those who are interested in manifestations of the arts
of different countries over which ISLAM held sway at one time or other
in the past. An effort has been made to show under one roof
representative examples of works produced at different epochs and
stages of the civilizations referred to, so that they may be seen, and
perhaps studied, with the minimum expenditure of time.

Fine examples of many branches of the arts of these peoples are in
permanent exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the
museums of great cities throughout the country. It is difficult to
find adequate words to describe the enchanting atmosphere of the halls
at the Metropolitan Museum where Near Eastern art is installed; and
the same can truly be said of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the
University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia. These exhibitions
must inevitably contribute to the enjoyment and education of countless
visitors to these institutions, and will continue to do so in
increasing degree to the enjoyment of generations to come.

The present exhibition does not comprise a vast number of objects. Its
claim to attention lies in the fact that it includes an important
series of really first class works which are also of great historical
importance. There will be on view as well some comparatively new types
of objects of æsthetic and archæological interest, obtained as the
result of recent excavations.

The briefness of time available precluded the possibility of compiling
a catalogue, as was at first intended. The present booklet is issued
to explain the scope of the exhibition, and extend a cordial
invitation to visit it.

H.K.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUHAMMAD (THE PROPHET) WITNESSES ALI (HIS SON-IN-LAW
AND SUCCESSOR) DEFEAT AMR BEN ABDWAD]

One of the eight illustrations for a XIIIth Century Persian Manuscript
entitled, "HISTORY OF TABARI", compiled A.H. 310 (A.D. 922). The
present copy is a subsequent one of the Persian version, translated by
AL B'ALA'MI, A.H. 352.

It is interesting to note that TABARI records in the book here
referred to, that three messages were sent by MUHAMMAD to KHUSRAW
PARNIZ, imparting the divine warnings. One of the messages, as
recorded in an old Manuscript entitled NIHAYAT UL-IRAB, reads:

"In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. From MUHAMMAD
the Apostle of God to KHUSRAW son of HURMAZD. But to proceed. Verily I
extol unto thee God, beside whom there is no other God. He it is who
guarded me when I was an orphan, and made me rich when I was
destitute, and guided me when I was straying in error. Only he who is
bereft of understanding, and over whom calamity triumphs, rejects the
message which I am sent to announce. O KHUSRAW, submit and thou shalt
be safe, or else prepare to wage with God and with his Apostle a war
which shall not find them helpless. Farewell."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

The rise of ISLAM and its rapid advent to power, is perhaps the most
surprising chapter of the history of mankind. The great empires,
Persian and Byzantine, which were subjected to the urgent onslaught of
this rising power may have been in an enfeebled condition as a result
of excess of despotism and internal dissensions, as historians affirm;
but that the element of the power must have been in the rationality of
the principles contained in the teaching, there can be no doubt.

"It was undoubtedly to ISLAM, that simple yet majestic creed of which
no unprejudiced student can ignore the grandeur, that Arabs owed the
splendid part which they were destined to play in the history of
civilization. In judging of the Arabian Prophet, western critics are
too often inclined to ignore the condition from which he raised his
country, and to forget that many institutions which they condemn were
not introduced but only tolerated by ISLAM. The early Muslims were
very sensible of the immense amelioration in their life effected by
MUHAMMAD'S teachings. What this same amelioration was is well shown in
the following passage from the oldest extant biography of the
Prophet," says Professor G. Browne in his memorable work on Persia,[1]
and quotes IBN HISHAM (A.H. 213: A.D. 828) in support.

[Footnote 1: "Literary History of Persia," by Edward G. Browne, M.A.,
M.B., Vol. I, page 186.]

"During the first half of the seventh century," says DOZY in

[CONTINUED ON PAGE THREE]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ACCESSION AT KUFA, A.D. 749, OF ABU'L-ABBAS ABDULLAH
AS-SAFFAH FIRST CALIPH OF THE HOUSE OF ABBAS]

One of eight illustrations for a XIIIth Century Manuscript entitled,
"HISTORY OF TABARI", compiled A.H. 310 (A.D. 922). The present copy is
a subsequent one of the Persian version, translated by AL B'ALA'MI,
A.H. 352.

"It was a dynasty abounding in good qualities, richly endowed with
generous attributes, wherein the wares of science found a ready sale,
the merchandise of culture was in great demand, the observances of
religion were respected, charitable bequests flowed freely ... and the
frontiers were bravely kept."--AL-FAKHRI (historian of fame of the
XIIIth Century) on the ABBASID Dynasty.

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 3]

his excellent work on ISLAM,[2] "everything followed its accustomed
course in the Byzantine as in the Persian Empire. These two states
continued always to dispute the possession of western Asia; they were,
to all outward appearance, flourishing; the taxes which poured into
the treasuries of their Kings reached considerable sums, and the
magnificence, as well as the luxury of their capitals had become
proverbial. But all this was but in appearance, for secret disease
consumed both empires; they were burdened by a crushing despotism; on
either hand the history of the dynasties formed a concatenation of
horrors, that of the state a series of persecutions born of
dissensions in religious matters. At this juncture it was that, all of
a sudden, there emerged from deserts hardly known and appeared on the
scene of the world a new people, hitherto divided into innumerable
nomad tribes, who, for the most part, had been at war with one
another, now for the first time united. It was this people,
passionately attached to liberty, simple in their food and dress,
noble and hospitable, gay and witty, but at the same time proud,
irascible, and, once their passions were aroused, vindictive,
irreconcilable and cruel, who overthrew in an instant the venerable
but rotten empire of the Persians, snatched from the successors of
Constantine their fairest provinces, trampled under their feet a
Germanic kingdom but lately founded, and menaced the rest of Europe,
while at the same time, at the other end of the world, its victorious
armies penetrated to the Himalayas. Yet it was not like so many other
conquering peoples, for it preached at the same time a new religion.
In opposition to the dualism of the Persians and a degenerate
Christianity, it announced a pure monotheism which was accepted by
millions of men, and which, even in our own time, constitutes the
religion of a tenth part of the human race."

[Footnote 2: Translated into French by Victor Chauvin under the title
of "Essai sur l'Histoire de l'Islamisme" (Leyden and Paris, 1879).]

The teachings of MUHAMMAD were not of a nature to arouse

[CONTINUED ON PAGE FIVE]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: POLYCHROME ENAMELLED GLASS MOSQUE LAMP OF THE XIIITH
CENTURY]

Very few examples of this highly advanced art survive. They represent
an extremely aristocratic manifestation of art and were executed by
order of MAMELUKE CALIPHS of Egypt, and dedicated by them to their
great Mosques, individually inscribed in magnificent calligraphy.

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 5]

intolerance.[3] History does not record the practice of compulsory
conversion in the scheme of conquest of early converts. "It is often
supposed," says Professor BROWNE, "that the choice offered by the
warriors of ISLAM was between the QUR'AN and the SWORD; this, however,
is not the fact." There are innumerable evidences to the contrary
which history records.[4] It appears that the exemplary behavior of
the Arabs, under their newly acquired faith, was the main factor not
only in the success of their scheme of conquest, but also in the
impression which it made on the defeated in determining them to adopt
the faith which produced such upright warriors.

[Footnote 3: "Righteousness is not that ye turn your faces to the East
and to the West, but righteousness is this: Whosoever believeth in
God, and the last day, and the angels, and the book, and the prophets;
and whoso, for the love of God, giveth of his wealth unto his kindred,
and unto orphans, and the poor, and the traveller, and to those who
crave alms, and for the release of the captives; and whoso observeth
prayer and giveth in charity; and those who, when they have
covenanted, fulfil their covenant; and who are patient in adversity
and hardship, and in times of violence: these are the righteous and
they that fear the Lord."--QUR'AN, SURA II.]

[Footnote 4: The treaty concluded by HABIB B. MASLAMA with the people
of DABIL in Armenia ran as follows: "In the name of God the merciful,
the clement. This is a letter from HABIB B. MASLAMA to the people of
DABIL, Christians, Magians, and Jews, such of them as are present and
such of them as are absent. Verily I guarantee the safety of your
lives, properties, churches, temples and city walls; ye are secure,
and it is incumbent upon us faithfully to observe this treaty so long
as you observe it and pay the poll-tax and the land-tax. God is
witness, and he sufficeth as a witness."--QUR'AN, V. 104. Concerning
the acceptance of the Poll-Tax from ZOROASTRIANS, as well as from Jews
and Christians. A. VON KREMER'S "Kulturgeschichte d. Orients," Vol. I,
page 59.]

The tremendous political upheaval that the evolution of ISLAM brought
in its train to the affairs of the world does not fall within the
scope of this paper. A highly important fact, however, must not be
lost sight of, that by consolidating and unifying the tottering states
a new civilization was founded which knew how to turn to account the
culture of the ancient states conquered. In this overwhelming
transformation Persia came in, from the outset, to play the most
conspicuous and important part. The

[CONTINUED ON PAGE NINE]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ROYAL IVORY BOX, WITH METAL MOUNTING. HISPANO-ARABIAN
ART, XIITH-XIIITH CENTURY DECORATED IN ENAMEL AND GOLD, DEPICTING
INSIGNIA OF SUCCESSORS OF UMAYYAD CALIPHS OF SPAIN, AND QUR'ANIC
ROSETTES AND KUFIC CALLIGRAPHY OF THE HIGHEST DISTINCTION]

[Illustration: FAIENCE CYLINDRICAL VASE, WITH RELIEF AND LUSTRE
DECORATION. FROM FOSTAT (ANCIENT CAIRO), DYNASTY OF FATIMID
ANTI-CALIPHS (A.D. 974-1171)]

[Illustration: AN EARLY SAFAWID PAINTING (CIRCA A.D. 1525) OF
EXQUISITE RHYTHM, DEPTH AND DIGNITY]

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 9]

artistic productions of the MUHAMMADAN world that have come down to us
as living monuments, substantiate this statement without a shadow of
doubt, which makes it unnecessary to resort to recorded history,
although its pages abound with incontestable evidences.[5]

[Footnote 5: "Thus it is by no means correct to imply that the two or
three centuries immediately following the MUHAMMADAN conquest of
Persia were a blank page in the intellectual life of its people. It
is, on the contrary, a period of immense and unique interest, of
fusion between the old and the new, of transformation of forms and
transmigration of ideas, but in no wise of stagnation or death.
Politically, it is true, Persia ceased for a while to enjoy a separate
national existence, being merged in that great MUHAMMADAN EMPIRE which
stretched from GIBRALTAR to the JAXARTES; but in the intellectual
domain she soon began to assert the supremacy to which the ability and
subtlety of her people entitled her. Even the forms of State
organization were largely adapted from Persian models."--AL-FAKHRI
(ed. AHLWARDT, page 101), on the organization of the DIWANS or
Government offices.

"In the finance department not only was the Persian system adopted, but
the Persian language and notation continued to be used till the time
of AL-HAJJAJ B. YUSUF (about A.D. 700)."--EDWARD G. BROWNE, "Literary
History of Persia", Vol. I, page 204.]

It would be difficult to offer an explanation for the underlying unity
and integrity of character manifest in the artistic expression of the
MUHAMMADAN countries, of vast geographical range, without a clear
understanding of the vital force contained in the teachings of the
Arabian Apostle, and the characteristics of his people, destined to
carry those teachings from one end of the earth to the other. For this
reason the foregoing brief survey has been ventured.

There can be no doubt that the pivot around which the artistic
activities of MUHAMMADAN countries revolved, was Persia.[6] She was to
attain the function of the SUN, element of

[CONTINUED ON PAGE SEVENTEEN]

       *       *       *       *       *

ILLUSTRATIONS FOR TITLE-PAGES OF A SHAHNAMA (EPIC OF KINGS) of the
XVth Century.

Representing TIMUR-I-LANG (A.H. 736-807) attending a festival. The
name and the full titles of TIMUR appear in excellent Thuluth
lettering round the border of the rug upon which the monarch sits.

This important Manuscript was presented by the Emperor of Russia to
the Ambassador of Persia at St. Petersburg, A.D. 1829. The
Ambassador's autograph inscription reads:

"The SHAHNAMA graciously presented by H.M. the Emperor at my third
visit--may it be omen of good fortune. MUHAMMAD ALI IBNI GHAFOURI
Ambassador, 22nd of RAJAB, A.H. 1245."

"TIMUR BEG was seated in a portal, in front of the entrance of a
beautiful Palace; and he was sitting on the ground.... The lord was
seated cross-legged, on silken embroidered carpets, amongst round
pillows. He was dressed in a robe of silk, with white headdress on his
head, on the top of which there was a spinel ruby, with pearls and
precious stones round it. As soon as the ambassadors saw the lord,
they made a reverential bow, placing the knee on the ground, and
crossing the arms on the breast; then they went forward and made
another and then a third, remaining with their knees on the ground.
The lord ordered them to rise and come forward.... Three MIRZAS, or
secretaries, ... came and took the ambassadors by the arms, and led
them forward until they stood before the lord.... He asked after the
King, saying, 'How is my son the King? is he in good health?' When the
ambassadors had answered, TIMUR BEG turned to the knights who were
seated around him, amongst whom were one of the sons of TOKTAMISH, the
former Emperor of TARTARY, several chiefs of the blood of the late
Emperor of SAMARQUAND, and others of the family of the lord himself,
and said, 'Behold, here are the ambassadors sent by my son, the King
of Spain, who is the greatest King of Franks, and lives at the end of
the world. These Franks are truly great people, and I will give my
benediction to the King of Spain, my son."--From the Diary of RUY
GONZALEZ DI CLAVIJO, principal of the embassy despatched A.D. 1404 to
the Court of SAMARQUAND by Henry III of Castile, Spain.

CLAVIJO describes the beautiful gardens with their tiled palaces where
banquets were given. The ambassador, who was invited, marvelled at the
gorgeous tents, one of which "was so large and high that from a
distance it looked like a castle, and it was a very wonderful thing to
see, and possessed more beauty than it is possible to describe". It is
interesting to notice that SHARAF-U-DIN mentions the presence of the
Ambassadors, "for," he writes, "even the smallest of fish have their
place in the sea". Truly a delightful touch!--History of Persia, by
SIR PERCY SYKES, Vol. II, page 133.

[Illustration: ILLUSTRATIONS FOR TITLE-PAGES OF A SHAHNAMA (EPIC OF
KINGS) OF THE XVTH CENTURY]

"On the extreme of the western side of the royal precincts opening on
to the CHAHAR BAGH are a garden and building. The Garden was
previously called "BAGH I BULBUL" (Garden of Nightingales).--LORD
CURZON, History of Persia.

"Night drawing on, all the pride of SPAHAUN was met in the CHAUR BAUG
and grandees were airing themselves, prancing about with their
numerous trains, striving to outdo each other in pomp and
generosity."--DR. FRYER, recorded A.D. 1677.

CHARDIN, who was at Ispahan at the time of SHAH SULEIMAN'S reign
(1667-1694), records in his "VOYAGES", Vol. VIII, page 43:

"When one walks in these places expressly made for the delights of
love and when one passes through all these cabinets and niches, one's
heart is melted to such an extent that to speak candidly, one always
leaves with a very ill grace. The climate without doubt contributes
much towards exciting this amorous disposition, but assuredly these
places, although in some respects little more than cardboard castles,
are nevertheless more smiling and agreeable than our most sumptuous
palaces."

LORD CURZON says (History of Persia, Vol. II, page 37) that "Even
CHARDIN, enthusiastic but seldom sentimental, was inspired to an
unwonted outburst by the charms of HASHT BAHISHT".

[Illustration: VIEW OF CHAHAR BAGH (FOUR GARDENS) AND HASHT BAHISHT
(PAVILION OF EIGHT PARADISES) AT ISPAHAN. CONSTRUCTED BY SHAH SULEIMAN
SAFAWI ABOUT A.D. 1670. REPRODUCTION FROM "LA PERSE, LA CHALDEE ET LA
SUSIANE" (1887) BY DIEULAFOY]

PAIR OF DOORS FROM THE PAVILION OF CHAHAL SITUN (Hall of Forty
Pillars) built by SHAH ABBAS the Great (A.D. 1588-1629).

These are decorated with representations of scenes from the Royal
Court of the great Shah, painted minutely by Court artists.

"They transport us straight to the Court of the lordly ABBAS and his
predecessors or successors on the throne.... We see the King engaged
at some royal festivity enjoying the pleasure of the Bowl."--LORD
CURZON, History of Persia, Vol. II, page 34.

KER PORTER, who saw the Palace of Chahal Situn in its perfect
condition, records: "The exhaustless profusion of its splendid
materials reflected not merely their own golden lights on each other,
but all the variegated colours of the Garden, so that the whole
surface seemed formed of polished silver and mother of pearl set with
precious stones."

LORD CURZON, who visited it soon after its last repair in 1891, quotes
KER PORTER and by way of contrast says: "The bulk of this superb
decoration which still remains in the THRONE ROOM behind, to point
bitter contrast, had on the walls of the LOGGIA been ruthlessly
obliterated by the brush of the painter, who had left in its place
pink wash; had I caught the Pagan, I would gladly have suffocated him
in a barrel of his own paint."--History of Persia, Vol. II, page 33.

[Illustration: PAIR OF DOORS FROM THE PAVILION OF CHAHAL SITUN (HALL
OF FORTY PILLARS) BUILT BY SHAH ABBAS THE GREAT (A.D. 1588-1629)]

[Illustration: RIZA ABBASI, FAVORED COURT ARTIST, PORTRAYS EUROPEANS
AT THE COURT OF SHAH ABBAS THE GREAT (A.D. 1588-1629)]

Detail of exquisitely painted woodwork from the Pavilion of CHAHAL
SITUN (Hall of Forty Pillars), the Palace at Ispahan built by SHAH
ABBAS.

The young Shah, who was pleased with the leader of the party
(Europeans), gave him royal gifts, Sir Anthony Sherley records (1598),
including "forty horses all furnished, two with exceeding rich
saddles, plated with gold, and set with rubies and turquoises." To
these he added camels, tents, and a sum of money.

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 17]

her old faith, source of sustaining energy; and continued to radiate
into these planets of countries and races of the System, her
all-stimulating cultural beams, the reflection of which is discernible
in all artistic manifestations of those countries. In the field of
literature, which is so little known in the western world, the
influence is even greater than in the visual art with which we are
concerned. MUHAMMADAN literature, be it Arabic, Turkish, or Persian,
is PERSIAN in spirit and feeling.[7]

[Footnote 6: "The ascendancy of the Persians over the Arabs, that is
to say of the conquered over the victors, had already for a long while
been in course of preparation; it became complete when the ABBASIDS,
who owed their elevation to the Persians, ascended the throne (A.D.
749). The most distinguished personages at court were consequently
Persians. The famous BARMECIDES were descended from a Persian noble
who had been superintendent of the Fire Temple at BALKH. AFSHIN, the
all-powerful favorite of the Caliph AL-MUTASIM, was a scion of the
Princes of USRUSHNA in Transoxiana."--DOZY, "Histoire de
l'Islamisme".]

[Footnote 7: "With the rise of PERSIAN influence, there opened an era
of culture, toleration, and scientific research. The practice of oral
tradition was also giving place to recorded statement and historical
narrative,--a change hastened by the scholarly tendencies introduced
from the East."--SIR WILLIAM MUIR, on the rise of the Abbasid
Dynasty.]

The fusion of MUHAMMADAN doctrine with this Aryan (Persian) culture of
old,[8] is an important event in the history of Art. For out of this
fusion came forth into being a new phase of artistic expression
completely different, in form and spirit, from its predecessors.
Probably of equal importance is the fact that, although practised by
divers races and subjected to many developments, fluctuations and
variations, it has retained throughout the centuries its identical
characteristics. What was the vital force that brought about this
cultural evolution and unification? The answer appears to be RELIGION,
as we shall see.

[Footnote 8: "PERSIAN influence increased at the court of the CALIPHS,
and reached its zenith under AL-HADI, HARUNU'R-RASHID, and AL-MAMUN.
Most of the ministers of the last were PERSIANS or of PERSIAN
extraction. In BAGHDAD, PERSIAN fashions continued to enjoy an
increasing ascendancy. The old PERSIAN festivals of the NAWRUZ,
MIHRGAN, and RAM were celebrated. PERSIAN raiment was the official
court dress, and the tall, black, conical PERSIAN hats were already
prescribed as official by the second ABBASID Caliph (in A.H. 153: A.D.
770). At the court the customs of the SASSANIAN Kings were imitated,
and garments decorated with golden inscriptions were introduced, which
it was the exclusive privilege of the ruler to bestow. A coin of the
Caliph AL-MUTAWAKKIL shows us this Prince actually clothed in true
PERSIAN fashions".--VON KREMER, Streitzuge, page 32.]

The foundation of the MUHAMMADAN EMPIRE was RELIGION. It was to the
Holy Standard that the nations bent

[CONTINUED ON PAGE TWENTY-THREE]

       *       *       *       *       *

     _"Lips sweet as sugar on my pen bestow,
     And from my book let streams of odour flow."_

     --J'AMI.

ILLUSTRATED AND ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT

The complete volume of "YUSUF-OU-ZALIKHA", the popular poem by the
famous mystic poet J'AMI, based on the Biblical story of JOSEPH and
POTIPHAR'S WIFE. The scribe, MIR ALI SULTANI.

The colophon reads:

"Terminated by the sinner, humble MIR ALI SULTANI the penman, may God
forgive his sins and shelter his faults. Terminated in the month of
MOHARRAM AL HARAM in the year A.H. 944 (in letters) (A.D. 1537) in the
glorious city of BUKHARA."

The Dedication in the handwriting of the scribe, in ornate gold
lettering, reads:

"For his majesty, the AUGUST, the just, the possessor of virtues, the
great KHAGAN GHAZI ABD-UL-AZIZ BAHADUR KHAN, may his domain last
forever."

The autograph of the Emperor SHAH JAHAN, the "GREAT MOGUL", on the
magnificently decorated mount reads:

"In the name of God compassionate and merciful this YUSUF-OU-ZALIKHA
treasured on the occasion of BLESSED ACCESSION." (A.D. 1627)

In confirmation of the foregoing, it is of great interest that
JAHANGIR makes special reference in his memoirs (Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri) to
an incident, as of highest importance, that he was presented by
ABD-AL-RAHIM KHAN, KHAN-I-KHANAN, with a superb copy of J'AMI'S poem
YUSUF-OU-ZALIKHA, transcribed by MIR ALI SULTANI, "Prince of Penmen",
and that the gift was appraised at "a thousand Muhr".

[Illustration: COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED AND ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT OF
"YUSUF-OU-ZALIKHA", BY THE FAMOUS MYSTIC POET J'AMI]

ONE OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE MANUSCRIPT YUSUF-OU-ZALIKHA

ZALIKHA in old age, broken and in poverty, meets YUSUF in the market
place in Egypt.

     _"Where is thy youth, and thy beauty, and pride?"
     "Gone, since I parted from thee," she replied.
     "Where is the light of thine eye?" said he.
     "Drowned in blood-tears for the loss of thee."
     "Why is that cypress tree bowed and bent?"
     "By absence from thee and my long lament."
     "Where is thy pearl, and thy silver and gold,
     And the diadem bright on thy head of old?"..._

     --Quotation from YUSUF-OU-ZALIKHA (J'AMI).
     Translation of R.T. GRIFFITH.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: CHISELLED SILVER BOWL, DECORATED IN FILIGREE AND
POLYCHROME ENAMEL. PERSIAN WORK OF THE XVITH CENTURY, PROBABLY
EXECUTED IN ASIA MINOR FOR A PRINCELY OTTOMAN PATRON]

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 23]

and professed unqualified allegiance. A powerful political unity came
into existence and continued for a period of SIX centuries
uninterrupted. The nations of this united kingdom of ISLAM were thus
merged into one unit, under the stimulus of one formal religion,
freely transmigrating local ideas. Arts and culture were transformed,
but the evolution thus caused by the Religion was essentially
political in nature.

"There is no God but GOD," said the APOSTLE OF ARABIA, but the poet
reflected awhile, and his rejoinder was: "The Ways of God are as the
number of SOULS OF MEN."

The Prophet's religion was rational, its principles attainable; it
secured for the poet social amelioration and physical comfort, but
there was a voice from the depth of his soul that he could not
silence. It was the voice of mystery; he was concerned with the
problems of the "Wherefore, the Whence, and the Whither".... Was he
not a Son of the land which PLOTINUS visited to learn mystery of the
Orient of Old?[9]

[Footnote 9: "Il prit un si grand goût pour la philosophie qu'il se
proposa d'étudier celle qui était enseignée chez les Perses et celle
qui prévalait chez les Indiens. Lorsque l'empéreur Gordien se prépara
à faire son expédition contre les Perses, Plotin, alors âgé de
trente-neuf ans, se mit à la suite de l'armée. Il avait passé dix
années entières près d'Ammonius. Gordien ayant été tué en Mesopotamie,
Plotin eût assez de peine à se sauver à Antioche."--PORPHYRY ON
PLOTINUS: Translation of the Enneads of Plotinus (Bouillet; Paris,
1857).]

We have to look therefore to the RELIGION, "The Ways" of whose God
"are as the number of Souls of Men", to perceive the true nature of
the evolution of the artistic expression of these people.

Souls with irresistible cravings for Mysticism, poets, artists,
philosophers and the like, discovered for the first time from
MUHAMMAD'S formal teachings, which contained certain esoteric
elements, that the senses, unreal and phenomenal, have yet an
important mission to fulfill in the task which aims to escape from
SELF (which is an illusion and the root of SIN, PAIN, and SORROW) and
to attain the height where the eternal beauty,

[CONTINUED ON PAGE TWENTY-SEVEN]

       *       *       *       *       *

"PORTRAIT OF MEHDI ALI GULI KHAN, COMMANDER OF FORTRESS, BY
RAMDAS"--A.D. 1630.

A leaf from the National Portrait Album conceived by the Emperor
AKBAR, and amplified and executed by JAHANGIR and SHAH JAHAN. The
volume consists of portraits of the Royal Family of the GREAT MOGULS
and their principal supporters. These historic personages are
represented in the centre as single individuals, with their chief
officials and retainers in the border around them.

RAMDAS, a Hindu artist, was one of AKBAR'S artists who worked under
JAHANGIR and SHAH JAHAN. His signed works include the following:

BABURNAMA in the British Museum and South Kensington Museum.
AKBARNAMA in South Kensington Museum.
RAZMNAMA in the State Library, Jaipur, India.
TIMURNAMA in the Oriental Public Library, Bankipur, India.

[Illustration: "PORTRAIT OF MEHDI ALI GULI KHAN, COMMANDER OF
FORTRESS, BY RAMDAS"--A.D. 1630]

[Illustration: SILK FABRIC--A RARE EXAMPLE OF THE KIND PRODUCED BY THE
ROYAL LOOMS AT ISPAHAN, WHICH FLOURISHED UNDER THE DIRECT PATRONAGE OF
SHAH ABBAS THE GREAT (A.D. 1588-1629)]

"Oct. 18th, 1666.--To Court. It being ye first time his Ma'ty
(CHARLES II of England) put himself solemnly into Eastern fashion of
vest, changeing doublet, stiff collar, bands and cloake, into a comley
dress, after ye Persian mode. I had sometime before presented an
invective against our so much affecting the French fashion, to his
Majesty, in which I took occasion to describe the comelinesse and
usefulness of the Persian clothing, in ye very same manner his
Ma'ty now clad himself."--JOHN EVELYN (A.D. 1666), celebrated
historian and diarist.

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 27]

which is but ONE, reveals itself through countless phenomena which are
but reflections of ONE. "The PHANTASMAL is the BRIDGE to the REAL,"
says the mystic, and the immortal lines of J'AMI read:

     _"Though in this world a hundred tasks thou tryest,
     'Tis Love alone which from thyself will save thee.
     Even from earthly love thy face avert not,
     Since to the real it may serve to raise thee.
     Ere A, B, C, are rightly apprehended,
     How canst thou con the pages of the_ QUR'AN?
     _A sage (so heard I) unto whom a scholar
     Came craving counsel on the course before him,
     Said, 'If thy steps be strangers to love's pathways,
     Depart, learn Love, and then return before me,
     For, shouldst thou fear to drink wine from form's Flagon,
     Thou canst not drain the draughts of the Ideal.
     But yet beware, Be not by form belated,
     Strive rather with all speed the bridge to traverse.
     If to the bourn thou fain wouldst bear thy baggage,
     Upon the bridge let not thy footsteps linger."_[10]

[Footnote 10: "Religious Systems of the World" (Swan Sonnenschein,
1892).]

The unreality of things material, the illusion of Self and desires,
the perception that all living things and apparent phenomena reflected
but one all-embracing GOOD and BEAUTY, was the philosophy of Hindu and
all Oriental mystics of old; but they attempted to destroy the self
and desires (Source of Sin) uncompromisingly and unreasonably. It was
a philosophy "cold" and "bloodless", as Professor BROWNE points out,
in trenchant terms. The MUHAMMADAN mystic became conscious that the
stream cannot be crossed without the aid of the BRIDGE constructed for
this purpose.

Here (as it seems to us) lies the KEYNOTE, the mainspring of
inspiration of artistic expression, which (for the lack of better
designation) might be termed MUHAMMADAN ART: A merging of physical and
spiritual, of worldly magnificence and eternal bliss.

[CONTINUED ON PAGE THIRTY-ONE]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PRINCES OF THE HOUSE OF TIMUR

EMIR TIMUR (TIMUR-I-LANG) on the throne (A.D. 1335-1405)

On the right of the throne:

BABUR A.D. 1526-1530
HUMAYUN A.D. 1530-1556
AKBAR A.D. 1556-1605
JAHANGIR A.D. 1605-1627
SHAH JAHAN A.D. 1627-1658

On the left are three sons of SHAH JAHAN:

DARA SHIKOH
SHAH SHUJA
AURENGZIB
(who succeeded Shah Jahan)

MUGHAL Painting from the Imperial Library of DELHI, A.D. 1640

[Illustration: THE PRINCES OF THE HOUSE OF TIMUR

MUGHAL PAINTING FROM THE IMPERIAL LIBRARY OF DELHI, A.D. 1640]

TALAR (HALL OF AUDIENCE) RUG

From the looms of ISPAHAN or the adjoining city of JOSHAGAN. Made
during the reign of SHAH SULEIMAN (A.D. 1667-1694), upon the model of
CHAHAR BAGH Royal Garden at ISPAHAN, on the grounds of which the Royal
Pavilion of HASHT BAHISHT (Eight Paradises) stands. The Rug measures
29 feet by 9 feet 5 inches.

LORD CURZON in his History of Persia, Vol. II, page 38, gives the
following description of the Garden of CHAHAR BAGH:

"At the upper extremity a two storeyed PAVILION connected by a
corridor with the SERAGLIO of the palace, so as to enable the ladies
of the harem to gaze unobserved upon the merry scene below, looked out
upon the centre of the avenue. Water conducted in stone channels ran
down the centre, falling in cascades from terrace to terrace, and was
occasionally collected in great square or octagonal basins where cross
roads cut the avenues. On either side of the central channel was a row
of chenars and a paved pathway for pedestrians, then occurred a
succession of open parterres, usually planted or sown. Next on either
side was a second row of chenars, between which and flanking walls was
a raised causeway for horsemen. At intervals corresponding with the
successive terraces and basins, arched doorways with recessed open
chambers overhead conducted through these walls into the various royal
or noble gardens that stretched on either side and were known as the
gardens of the throne; nightingale, vines, mulberries, Dervishes, etc.
Some of these pavilions were places of public resort and were used as
coffee houses, where when the business of the day was over the good
burghers of Ispahan assembled to sip that beverage and inhale their
Kalians the while. At the bottom quays lined the banks of the river
and were bordered with the mansions of the nobility."

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[PAGE 31]

A desire to reach to our higher instincts through the vehicle of our
senses is apparent in all forms in which these masters sought to
express themselves; we feel that, in their entrancing rhythmical
compositions, in their incomparable poetry of flowing melodious words,
in all their literature, in the inimitable colors and lyrical lines of
all branches of representation of visual art. We feel the presence of
an element prevailing throughout, and underlying every form of
expression, an element which may be described in a word, "HUMAN".

It is stated that the PERSIAN spirit and feeling were reflected in all
forms of artistic expression of the MUHAMMADAN world. It is not,
however, intended that other nations and countries over which ISLAM
held sway, contributed nothing in the building of the influences of
each were felt in varying degrees in the transmigration of ideas
continued to take place between the nations, and the influences of
each were felt in varying degrees in the transformation that resulted.
In the fusion referred to, the influence of the PERSIAN culture was
predominant, a fact so transparent, as to require (we may assume) no
emphasis.

It is not intended to deal here with particular aspects or divers
branches of arts in which the genius of these artists found
expression. In offering briefly these lines as to the general aspect
of the Art of the MUHAMMADAN world, the intention is to offer an
explanation to those who may not be familiar with its history.

H. KEVORKIAN

[Illustration]





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